Does Experience Mean Nothing?

Topic 16391 | Page 1

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Mr. T's Comment
member avatar

I'm not looking to leave my company anytime soon but I'm always looking online at different jobs in my area for when I make my 1 year mark. I often see jobs that require 1, 2, & some even 3 years experience...but then the job only might pay like 40 cents per mile, or $12-$16 an hour. I'm thinking why in the heck if I had 2-3 years experience would I take a job paying $12-16 an hour??? I live in Louisiana & we have many plants with contractor work & you can have ZERO experience & go in starting at $15-$20 an hour. I even had a job as a laborer once where all I did was SWEEP concrete for 10 hours a day & made $19 an hour. I know there are some insurance purposes but man! Idk maybe I'm missing something????

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

You're not missing anything, but you've gotta compare apples with apples. One truckload company might pay more than another, but you might get equipment with less bling, e.g. compare CR England with Shaffer.

Compare LTL with truckload, and it's really no comparison at all. If you have a driver working for a truckload company that accomplishes 4k miles in a week at .38 cpm , they earned $1,520 gross. Another driver can earn $1,638.73 per week gross while only churning out 488 miles per day (2,440 miles a week plus additional pay for other tasks). The OTR driver is away from home, living in the truck / truck stops, paying for meals and comforts on the road, etc... The LTL driver is home every day, sleeping in their own bed, and packing lunches.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Also are you comparing areas? In NJ cost of living is so high that is you are single and don't make $25 per hour life can be hard, but in WV that $25/could have you living like a King.

From what in have seen local jobs seem to pay less than OTR.... But that might just be where I am from

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Mr. T's Comment
member avatar

Well no I wasn't comparing areas. But I see what you guys are saying. I mean I wouldn't mind being home every night but at the same time I wouldn't want to do it & make crappy pay either. I like some of the responses "Gladhand" got on his other post.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
I often see jobs that require 1, 2, & some even 3 years experience...but then the job only might pay like 40 cents per mile, or $12-$16 an hour. I'm thinking why in the heck if I had 2-3 years experience would I take a job paying $12-16 an hour???... Idk maybe I'm missing something????

Mr. T, I actually think you are missing something. Here is where I think your thinking is maybe just a little "short sighted." Experience does mean something in this business, but it is not always measured in the typical fashion of most jobs, such as total years of handling a truck, or even in the rate of pay you are earning. Remember what we always stress to people about this career - that it is performance based. You could take two different drivers at the same company who both have "ten years" experience and find that their total pay at the end of the year is vastly different, even if they were both making the same amount per mile. What constitutes the difference? How much they were able to accomplish during the year. My first trucking job paid me .27 cpm as a green horn rookie just starting out. Without going into all the details, I did get several raises during that first year because they recognized the fact that I understood how to make things happen out here, but at the end of that rookie year I had grossed near fifty thousand dollars. That all took place while literally hundreds of other rookies quit their jobs at this same company based on the fact that "they could not make any money at this."

I think it a big fallacy to equate big earnings in this career with higher rates of pay. The other thing about experience that is somewhat different in trucking is that when considering experience you really need to focus on your experience at the company you are currently employed with. What I mean by that is that when you are a top performer, the company that you are working with knows that and will honor it with special favors and better dispatches. They will come to trust you completely because they know that you are the kind of driver who "gets it." That type of experience cannot be measured in cpm, it is "priceless" in my opinion. It garners the best treatment, and the best results on your paycheck. It is worth more than any other incentive you may be looking for at a different job.

People almost always get into this career thinking, "I will get my start at WernSchneidEngland, and then when I get my experience established I will move on to a place that pays really well." I realize that kind of thinking and conversation is prevalent in almost every truck driver lounge across the country, but I also know it is absolutely bogus. By sticking it out at a driving job and learning the ropes of how things work at your company you will be light years ahead of the disgruntled job hoppers who are fruitlessly chasing after the wind, always changing jobs and having to constantly try to re-establish themselves over and over again. By hanging in there for a few years, while being really productive, you will almost always come out ahead at one of these major carriers, who have so many different types of jobs that you can easily move over into, while not breaking that bond of trust between yourself and your current employer.

So yes, experience is valuable in this career, but it doesn't always translate into something that you present to your next employer as an incentive to pay you more. It is more like a foundation that you establish for yourself where you are at, and you build on that by consistently being a top producer. Consistency tells a big story in this business. The only people who really know about your consistency, whether it is good or bad, are the folks you are currently working with. You've got to get the big picture in focus, think long term and establish a really good track record for yourself. That will always be how you generate top dollar as a professional driver.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

I think it is important for new drivers to understand concepts that are emphasized on this forum. Concepts like how performance impacts one's success, paycheck, and even survival in this industry. We all know how some drivers are prone to job hopping, chasing after better equipment or higher cpm. We all know the "horror stories" about all the evil companies to work for out there, and how prevalent the misinformation (and disinformation) is on the internet. I know that's why this presence was created on the web, to counteract the garbage on the internet and to correct some of the distorted thinking.

I for one appreciate the collective push of this forum to swing the pendulum. But I also think sometimes it swings a little too far to one side sometimes. I understand why, and mostly it is due to the greater audience on this forum (i.e. being geared towards new drivers working for truckload companies), and the uphill battle of going up against the majority of the drivers in this industry that continue to propagate some of the fallacies Old School talks about.

To respond directly to Old School's reply, it is a realistic and legitimate career path to start at a major truckload company and then move on to something higher-paying with more hometime. And that is why for a lot of drivers, these major companies are "starter companies." A moderator on this forum took this path, and commented that OTR was just a stepping stone for him. I can appreciate the push to emphasize that these mega carriers don't have to be "starter companies" from an earnings perspective, and that the mega truckload carriers offer the best equipment, resources, and comparable pay packages to any other truckload company out there.

But we must remember context here. If one was to remain in the truckload sector, then yes, there would be no reason to assume you could earn a vast difference in pay from one mega truckload carrier to another. In this context, there are no "starter companies." All the pay packages and equipment are the same, relatively speaking. A matter of a cent or two won't make much of a difference in compensation. And because all the mega truckload carriers top out at about the same cpm , experience at one carrier doesn't translate into a higher cpm at another carrier - if we are staying in the truckload sector.

For some drivers, experience at a truckload company does impact a greater earning potential if that experience opens up opportunities in their local region. Some local companies will not hire drivers without experience, and for some, they do specify OTR experience. I think it is short-sighted to assume that everyone that comes to this website will just focus on an OTR career, or start or stay within the truckload sector. I know Old School and others don't really assume this, but with all due respect sometimes they write like they do. Because in the grand scheme of things, bigger rates of pay most certainly affects earnings. I understand why Old School wrote what he wrote - it was due to context and audience. And based on that context, everybody should agree with him - I certainly do. But there is another audience on this forum besides people that choose to go into the truckload sector, or besides people that HAVE to go into the truckload sector. And for those of us that aren't in the truckload sector, cpm does matter when comparing truckload with LTL. And some of the local jobs out there that aren't in LTL are still paying very well. I also realize some of the local jobs pay peanuts. It really depends on location, which is what I've preached time and time again on this forum.

I just want to make sure all sides are represented here. I know that I appreciated somebody in LTL who reached out to me when I was first starting. I thought I was going to have to go the OTR route first, and then try to find that local job that pays better and offers more hometime. I was fortunate enough to go into LTL right out of trucking school. Another person on this forum recently did the same thing, and has been doing very well as a linehaul driver. I didn't go into how some local jobs, particularly P&D , can be treacherous for a rookie driver. The folks on this forum do a good enough job warning of the pitfalls of such jobs for rookies. I mainly wanted to represent a part of trucking where comparing higher rates of pay does affect higher earnings, and how some of these mega truckload companies are indeed starter companies for those that don't remain in the truckload sector. That's the point of this thread.

One final illustration, more to show some of the visitors here the difference between pay rate when comparing one sector with another.

2500 miles per week at .40 cpm (which is a very respectable cpm for truckload carriers) = 1,000 gross weekly earnings, or $48,000 a year

2,500 miles per week at .63 (which is a very respectable cpm for LTL carriers) = 1,575 gross weekly earnings, or $75,600 a year

Compare apples to apples, and cpm / experience doesn't really matter. But for somebody that uses a truckload company to get into LTL, everybody would agree that truckload company was used as a starter company, and that cpm certainly matters. I only used LTL as an example because that is what I'm familiar with. There are other local gigs out there that pay hourly and pay very well too, e.g. hauling fuel.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

P&D:

Pickup & Delivery

Local drivers that stay around their area, usually within 100 mile radius of a terminal, picking up and delivering loads.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers for instance will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Tractor Man's Comment
member avatar

Sixstring, VERY GOOD perspective. Thanks for taking the time to spell it out. I learned a lot in those few paragraphs!

smile.gifthank-you.gif

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

I'm happy to take the time, because just like Old School, my interest is in making sure folks come into this industry with knowledge and healthy expectations.

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